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NC State beats Syracuse 71-57 in finale for Orange, Boeheim

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) North Carolina State closed its regular season in satisfying fashion, rolling to an easy conference win that will help firm up an already solid-looking NCAA Tournament resume.

Syracuse ended the season with a lopsided loss, NCAA penalties and Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim nowhere to be found afterward.

Trevor Lacey scored 19 points and N.C. State beat Syracuse 71-57 on Saturday, one day after the NCAA hit the Orange with sanctions for decade-long violations.

Ralston Turner also scored 19 for the Wolfpack (19-12, 10-8 Atlantic Coast Conference), who ran off 16 straight points spanning halftime as part of a huge run that put the Orange (18-13, 9-9) on their heels.

”Really it was a mindset of knowing that they’re not going to be able to go to the postseason and the NCAA sanctions they just had put on them,” Lacey said. ”We had to have the mindset to come out and play regardless. We need to win games to put us in a good situation for where we want to be.”

By the end, the Wolfpack had a fourth win against a Hall of Fame coach this season – though this one came against a beleaguered coach whose program won’t play in the postseason as a self-imposed penalty.

On Friday, the NCAA wrapped things up by hitting Syracuse with penalties for academic, drug and gifts violations committed primarily by the men’s basketball team. While the school faces financial penalties, scholarship reductions and five years of probation, Boeheim himself received a nine-game suspension for next season to be served during ACC games.

But Boeheim wasn’t available to field questions during the postgame news conference. Instead, he sent assistant coach Mike Hopkins and issued a statement – handed out as Hopkins entered the room – saying he would ”more fully comment on NCAA issues” in the future.

”I want to make sure today, as we play our last game and are together for (the) last time as (a) team, that the focus is on our players, and all they have done to make our university proud,” Boeheim said. ”This should be the focus this afternoon and nothing else.”

Hopkins, a longtime assistant to Boeheim and a former player, said Boeheim didn’t want to have to repeatedly decline comment to questions.

Syracuse was in the game early and led 25-17 late in the first half, but N.C. State took control by scoring the final nine points before the break to start a 27-2 run.

Pushing the tempo in the second half, N.C. State led by 19 with about 10 minutes left. The Orange – who looked two steps slow during the Wolfpack’s romping stretch – got no closer than nine points late, with Turner burying two straight 3s in the final 3 1/2 minutes that essentially sealed the win.

TIP-INS

Syracuse: Tyler Roberson had 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead Syracuse. … The Orange shot 31 percent. … Syracuse went 4 for 18 from 3-point range.

N.C. State: N.C. State’s other wins against Hall of Famers this year came against Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Louisville’s Rick Pitino and North Carolina’s Roy Williams. … Anthony ”Cat” Barber had 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists. … N.C. State blocked seven shots.

TOURNAMENT POSITIONING

N.C. State has won five of six to close the regular season as it chases a fourth straight NCAA Tournament trip.

”As a coach what you hope to have is your team playing its best basketball in February and March, and we talk about that all the time with our team,” Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said. ”I think we’ve stepped up.”

CHRISTMAS’ FAREWELL

Syracuse’s Rakeem Christmas closed his career with 15 points and 12 rebounds. The 6-foot-9 senior had averaged 4.5 points over his first three seasons but finished this year averaging 17.5 points and 9.1 rebounds.

”It’s an honor playing for Coach Boeheim,” Christmas said. ”He’s a great coach. I wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s always there for you, and we’re always there for him.”

REMINDERS

N.C. State was ready to remind Syracuse of the NCAA troubles.

Fans stopped their ”Wolf! Pack!” chant during starting lineups long enough to strongly boo Boeheim. Others sang the chorus from the Village People’s song ”YMCA” during Syracuse’s early possessions as a reference to some of the violations outlined in the NCAA’s report that were connected to a local YMCA.

Another fan held up a sign: ”Jim, will play for grades.”

UP NEXT

Syracuse’s season is complete.

N.C. State plays Wednesday in the ACC tournament in Greensboro.

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

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